Saturday, June 20, 2009

It Only Takes One

I know I said I wasn't going to post for a while, but this particular thing has been eating at me, so I need to get this one out. This particular phrase, "it only takes one." It hits me in my gut every time I hear it and I took a long time to figure out why exactly it hurt me so much. After all, it's never meant to be hurtful when it's said - it's always said in an optimistic context.

Part of it, I think is simply because it is just a platitude that is meaningless until something comes of it. Worse, if I did get pregnant, the person who said it can say "I told you so," and I'm not sure there ARE three more annoying words in the universe. Also it seems to invalidate whatever frustration I happen to be having at that particular moment in time - it says, "Yes, all your other embryos were crap, but your feelings about that are invalid, because all that matters is that one." Certainly no one intends to send this message, though. So why does it bother me so much?

Finally, my beloved Barren put her finger on it in two ways. First, she said to me - yes, we all know it's true - it's only going to take one in the end, but platitudes don't implant and make babies, so they don't help. But later she said that really I should consider the math and think about it - and I would realize that, actually? It takes a heck of a lot more than one! And she's right. Observe:

5 Clomid cycles, unmonitored, so I don't know how many eggs, I ovulated, but we'll assume at least one, because we do know I ovulated, so...5 cycles = 5 eggs, 0 pregnancies = 0 babies

5 IUI w/ Follistim Cycles = 11 eggs, 1 singleton pregnancy, 1 miscarriage = 0 babies

1 IUI w/ Follistim cycle = 30 follicles (not all mature, probably 5 mature), 1 triplet pregnancy = 3 babies

4 IVF cycle starts, 2 cancelled, 2 retrievals, 24 eggs retrieved, 17 fertilized, 2 transferred (1 at a time), 0 made it to freeze, 0 pregnancies = 0 babies.

So that's ... call it 45 eggs ... 3 babies. So it actually takes about 15 to make a baby by my math.

Obviously it doesn't work out to quite that math, but my point is that it's taken a helluva a lot more than "one" to make a baby (or three, in my case). And in my 4 IVF attempts, I've made it to 2 retrievals and retrieved 24 eggs and gotten... zero babies. Clearly, it's going to take more than one. Now, obviously, we haven't found the "right" one - but there's also no guarantee we ever will. And maybe the right one was already there, but we didn't pick it.

I know that if I never get pregnant again, I've still been more blessed than I deserve to be. I know that many of you think that I have no right to even continue trying, let alone complain about our failures at this point. But this battle between primary and secondary infertility is ridiculous. These arbitrary decisions about the correct family sizes are equally ridiculous. We know our family isn't complete, just as we know that we are blessed with the family we have. We are not blind to the blessings we have, nor to the suffering that people who haven't made it to the other side are going through.

And the pain I feel in this loss is every bit as real as the pain I felt with each and every loss I felt the first time around.


battynurse said...

I'm sorry.
I suppose I've never really thought about how that statement feels when you're on the receiving end. And it would be very frustrating. I know when I did the beta hell thing for my two IVF's I hated hearing about how someone started off with a super low beta and still got a take home baby. As soon as I heard the beta was that low I knew I was out and I figured that even though people were trying to cheer me up they were sitting there thinking yup, she's out. I know that there are those who've had a baby with a beta that started off really low, but I know it's rare. I've also seen stories where someone only had one embryo to transfer and it worked but again it's rare. I'm sure it is hard to hear. Thinking of you and sending hugs.

Erin said...

Maybe it's because we also have secondary IF, but I've never thought that you were trying too hard or for too long, or that you don't cherish the children that you have at home. When you feel like your family is missing someone who's supposed to be there, you want to do anything you can to make that happen. We've been doing the same since P was 11 months old. He'll be 6 in December.

"It only takes one" is a painful statement to be sure. I'd have to calculate how many it takes for mine but realistically, even without IVF, P was conceived on my 12th cycle (after 18 months), so it took 12 for him. If we also add in all the ovulations after that, it's probably in the neighborhood of 50+ eggs to get one living, wonderful, healthy child out of it. I hate that statement also.

Anonymous said...

I am the poster child for the 'it only takes one' campaign. And I hate it. I had one embryo, transferred one embryo and well, the rest we will have to wait and find out. It really pissed me off to hear it, so I totally get where you are coming from.

Your family isn't done till you say it is - it doesn't matter that you have 4 kids at home.

nishkanu said...

I'm sorry you feel that you have to defend your right to be upset at things that are upsetting. Personally, I think the "it only takes one" thing is right along the lines of the "it wasn't really a baby" comment when it comes to a miscarriage - i.e. invalidating your right to be upset about something that objectively s*cks. Even now (16 weeks knocked up, gravida 3 para 0) I get really annoyed at people who say "Well, now you have no reason to worry the baby won't make it" because anyone in their right mind knows that the baby still can "not make it" and anyway they aren't Listening To How I Feel but instead telling me how I OUGHT to feel. Grrr.

And even while being 'primary' I think I can imagine pretty clearly how being 'secondary', if I get lucky enough to get there, is also gonna bite. So no primary/secondary debate going on here.

barrenisthenewblack said...

But it only takes one.....AWARD
thanks for all you do for me AND your honesty

Elise said...

I gave my perspective on my blog. I'm sorry this has been so hard and I hope that all of your places at your dinner table are filled one day soon.

Meghan said...

I know I'm late to comment but I wanted to completely agree. About it all. About trying for's alreadt starting to bug me when people act surprised we'll go back for more treatments. Why the hell can't I have as many kids as I want?? I'm certainly not going to let a little thing like infertility stop me from at least trying. And the 'it only takes 1 comment'. I won't even get started on that one since this comment is already too darn long ;)

Barefoot said...

Ugh, the platitudes. Usually well-meaning, but....UGH.

Thinking of you!

Cindy (and Brian) said...

Very well said.
You have helped me understand my own feelings of frustration about the things that well-meaning people say.
As always, I am rooting for you.